Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Weetabix Top Trax / Top Trax II - Various Artists

One of my first posts here talked about the song Young At Heart by The Bluebells; a song that I know and love, and has some good memories associated with it. Chances are that the only reason I know it so well is because we had it on a cassette tape that came free (with tokens, I suspect) from Weetabix breakfast cereal. The tape itself was given away during 1985, the song was originally released in 1984, and I was born in 1983. So I suspect that, without the tape kicking around my house, I wouldn't have ordinarily listened to it a great deal due to being so young when it was out.

But we did have the cassette.

In fact, we had several. Weetabix did two sets of tapes, one in 1985 and one in 1986, known as Top Trax and - imaginatively - Top Trax II. Each cassette has two songs on each side. I'm not sure how many tapes there were altogether. I still have six, and I believe that is all we ever had. Five from the original set, and one from Top Trax II.

I've had several visits to my post about The Bluebells track, which mentions the Weetabix tapes, so I've decided I'd mention all the tapes I have. Partly because I like listing stuff, partly because some people may be genuinely interested and (most importantly of all, considering the purpose of this blog) because these tapes defined my listening habits and tastes for quite some time.

From a very young age, these cassettes were played repeatedly. At first, played around/to me, but then later played by me. Long car journeys meant my sister and I bringing the cassettes along with us and shouting, "Mum! Change the tape!" after every four songs. I regard those six tapes as a single album of 28 tracks and, since I now own each of the songs on CD or MP3, I often consider compiling them into a Top Trax playlist so I can once again listen to them as a whole.

Here's my collection of the tapes:

Weetabix Top Trax/II Cassettes
Weetabix Top Trax/II Cassettes

And here's a list of what was on each of them (again, I point out that I don't have all of the tapes that were ever given away, so this is just a list of those I have):

Brian's Cassette:
1.1. Haircut One Hundred - Fantastic Day
1.2. Nik Kershaw - I Won't Let The Sun Go Down On Me
2.1. The Bluebells - Young At Heart
2.2. New Edition - Candy Girl

Bixie's Cassette:
1.1. Nik Kershaw - Wouldn't It Be Good
1.2. Bucks Fizz - My Camera Never Lies
2.1. Billy Ocean - Caribbean Queen
2.2. Irene Cara - Fame

Dunk's Cassette:
1.1. Thompson Twins - Doctor! Doctor!
1.2. Tears For Fears - Shout
2.1. Dexy's Midnight Runners - Come On Eileen
2.2. Kirsty MacColl - There's A Guy Works Down The Chip Shop Swears He's Elvis

Crunch's Cassette:
1.1. Tears For Fears - Mad World
1.2. Big Country - Wonderland
2.1. The Jam - Beat Surrender
2.2. Status Quo - The Wanderer

Brain's Cassette (this is the one with a torn label, so I don't know which side is which):
?.1. Bucks Fizz - If You Can't Stand The Heat
?.2. Thomson Twins - We Are Detective
?.1. Bananarama - Robert De Niro's Waiting
?.2. ABC - The Look Of Love

Bixie's Cassette - Top Trax II:
1.1. Thomson Twins - Don't Mess With Doctor Dream
1.2. Tears For Fears - Head Over Heels
2.1. Five Star - System Addict
2.2. Baltimora - Tarzan Boy

For me, the three standout artists from that bunch are Nik Kershaw, Tears for Fears, and Thompson Twins. Mainly because, several years later, I got myself the greatest hits CDs of each of these and discovered other songs that have gone on to become particular favourites. And there is no doubt that my enjoyment of music from the 1980's began with these tapes.

EDIT (05/08/12): I have just realised that I must own at least one other tape, because I'm certain that Nik Kershaw's Wide Boy was a featured track. When I return home, I must search...

EDIT (08/08/12): Yep, I actually have one other tape:

Brian's Cassette - Top Trax II:
1.1 Nik Kershaw - Wide Boy
1.2 Big Country - Look Away
2.1 Bronski Beat - Hit That Perfect Beat
2.2 Jim Diamond - Hi Ho Silver

Weetabix Top Trax II - Brian's Cassette
Weetabix Top Trax II - Brian's Cassette
The photo above also shows how awesome my mum was, in that she'd type little inlays for all the cassettes, just to make life easier searching for the tape we particularly wanted. To be honest, I'm surprised I forgot about this one. Side 1 must have been played an awful lot.

"People go to movies or listen to music because they want to be inspired" - Daphne Zuniga

25 comments:

  1. thankyou so much, you have no idea how many memories this has brought back to me - oddly enough I had only just been born when these tapes were offered - however, because my older brother had kept hold of them they eventually fell into my hands when I was about 6 or 7 and became the first tapes I ever owned and listened to! we had Brians, Drunks and Both of Bixies! wonderful to see them again! I had always remembered about 10 of the tracks but had forgotten about Kirsty and haircut 100!

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    1. Thank you for visiting and thanks for your comment :) It sounds like you spent a lot of your childhood listening to these tapes, just like I did!

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  2. Lovely to see this - a hefty dose of nostalgia as I enter my 30s. I thought I was so cool with my crappy tape player and my Weetabix tapes, and it's great that so many of the songs have stood the test of time. It calls for a Spotify playlist. How times have changed...

    Thanks :-)

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    1. Glad you enjoyed the post :) I, too, have made a digital playlist that matches the tapes, just so i can try and relive the nostalgia ;)

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  3. Wow blast from the past. I definitely remember having dunks cassette, great songs!

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    1. I just wish I had all the other cassettes from both series, too. I could complete the collection. I don't even know what the other tapes had on them :(

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  4. just to say a massive thank you for this post, i only had dunks tape, found your post when googling about the weetabix tape, you rock! xxx

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    1. Glad you enjoyed it! :) I was never able to find any information about these Weetabix tapes, so decided to provide my own for anyone else looking. Hope you had a nice nostalgic trip and thanks for visiting.

      p.s. I see from your Blogger profile that you are/were a fan of Tori Amos. I approve wholeheartedly!

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  5. I am pretty sure there is a tape or 2 missing. I remember a song with a females voice. I remember different parts of the song, the lyrics went something like ' du du du du, I wanna be your lover' ...... 'In the night I heard your voice' ...... ' I wont be nobody's fool'

    I probably know the lyrics wont make much sense but if you piece together the song I am talking about you would help me relive some precious childhood memories.

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    1. Sadly, these are the only tapes I have. I know there must have been more, but I've been unable to find any other information about them. From the snippets of lyrics you've provided, I've not thought of anything in particular... maybe some more of the song will come to you soon?

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  6. Well, according to my research (which involved finding an advert for them on ebay and zooming in on the pic) there were 5 tapes in the range. Presumably with 5 character names.

    I had a couple of these. Pretty obviously I did otherwise I wouldn't have found this blog :)

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    1. Perhaps someone else out there still has some of these tapes :)

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  7. My Wife and I used to play a classic rock tape by weetabix. I loved nearly every track. Silver Machine, Milk and alcohol, mean girl (quo),Smoke on the water, Python Lee Jackson to name a few. It was great. Cant find it anywhere though :(

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  8. I had one that had Tears for Fears - Everybody Wants To Rule The World on it, would play that song over and over!

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  9. Awesome post! - I've been hunting for the playlists of the two tapes that I had back in the 80's for a long time.

    there was another tape "dunk 6" - http://www.discogs.com/Various-Weetabix-Top-Trax-II-Dunks-Cassette/release/4958796

    I had Dunk 6 + bixies cassette. Used to listen to them over and over and over :)

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  10. Ahhhh thank you. I only had Bixie's top/trax 2. I remembered 3 of the tunes but couldn't remember what the 4th one was. Thomson Twins - Don't Mess With Doctor Dream.

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  11. https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLJqzZGScBdGzRMNCevp1q-BcTiob2_f3o&action_edit=1

    I have created this playlist for your enjoyment

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  12. Posts like this are why the internet was created. Thank you!

    (Brian's Top Trax cassette will always remind me of car journeys taken as a kid, ahhhh.)

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  13. Hey, I am a non British person and I kinda am fascinated with this type of stuff. I want to start listening to this and buy all the tapes. it might start off my collection of cassettes.

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  14. Great blog, think me and my brother had all the tapes as I remember these ones plus a couple of others not mentioned .. I also remember:
    Everybody Wants to Rule The World - Tears For Fears
    Opus - Live is Life
    Lloyd Cole - Brand New Friend (I think, but that could have been Hits 5 - worthy of a whole other topic!)
    I was 8 years old when my mum first started collecting these casettes for us and I played them to death. I'm now 40 this year, but one listen to any of these songs and I'm instantly transported back to the happy 80's !! Xx

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  15. Didn't they come in little cardboard boxes?

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  16. I love the internet. I heard a Nik Kershaw song on the radio and it reminded me I used to have a tape from Weetabix. A quick google of "weetabix 80s tapes" and here I am. The memories come flodding back! And thanks to you I now know the playlists. The tape sadly is long gone, along with all the tape players.

    Cheers for the memories!

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    1. I'm currently listening to Thomson twins, tears for fears and Nik Kershaw in my kitchen because of these very tapes 😊😊😊

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  17. I have very fond memories of these tapes, I was born in 1982 so these tapes came out when I was a toddler. My Dad ate Weetabix every day so it didn't take long to collect them all! We also had the Weetabix history and geography paperback books from the mid-80s you could get by sending away the tokens from the packets. The songs I most remember listening to as a kid were Bananarama's Robert De Niro's Waiting, The Jam's Beat Surrender and Tears For Fear's Shout although when I bought the tapes on ebay about ten years ago I found there were a lot of other great 80s bands that I really enjoy now (Big Country) on them too.

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  18. I am glad I found this blog post! I think there was another tape on there with a track called Jingo by Jellybean and Rock Da House by the Cookie crew...

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